The Parahawk is a fictional hybrid paraglider/snowmobile used by the Russian Military. The vehicles have a fabric wing comprising a large number of interconnected baffled cells from which is suspended a single-pilot snowmobile driven by a pusher propeller. Parahawks appear in the 1999 James Bond film, The World Is Not Enough, and its video-game adaptation of the same name.
James Bond flies to Azerbaijan, where oil heiress Elektra King is overseeing the construction of her late father's oil pipeline. During a tour of the pipeline's proposed route in the Caucasus mountains, Bond and Elektra are attacked by a four-man hit squad using Russian Parahawks provided by Dr. Mikhail Arkov. The assassins chase Bond down a forested slope, firing wildly with sub-machine guns and dropping hand-grenades. One manages to entangle his parachute in a tree and violently explodes. Two of the vehicles detach from their chutes and pursue 007 on the snow, culimating in one colliding with a tree and the other falling from a cliff. The latter vehicle demonstrated its survivability by deploying a secondary parachute and gaining altitude. Bond destroys the final pair of Parahawks by tearing a hole in one of their chutes, causing it to lose control and collide with the remaining vehicle.
Behind the scenes
- "The formation flying was pretty easy. Since the stuntmen were sky divers, they were comfortable being in the air."
- ― Tim Leblanc, stunt flyer.
The vehicle was designed by Trever Engler, who was also a stunt pilot in the movie.
The skiing chase sequence in the Caucasus was shot on the slopes of Chamonix, France. Filming of the scene was delayed by an avalanche; the crew helped in the rescue operation. There were originally a total of eighteen 'flying' and 'land' Parahawks built for the film. A modified ski-doo snowmobile is under the 'land' variant's shell, making the vehicle capable of ploughing over drifts three meters high. Articulated steel skis help the Ski-doo change direction on snow. In the air, however, their weight and that of some frame modifications caused problems during test flights. In a bid to improve the vehicle's airworthiness, Parahawk frames used for airborne variants were made of lightweight black fibreglass to reduce weight. Land variants were more robust. The vehicle's especially low windscreen was designed for filming purposes so the actors could be clearly seen. Steering for the airborne version's parachute was hidden inside the driver's pod where a pulley system was added for turning. Only usable in very mild weather conditions, controllability of the flying Parahawks proved difficult, resulting in the stuntmen flying 'all over the place' as the winds grew stronger.
- Filming locations for The World Is Not Enough (1999). Internet Movie Database. Retrieved on 16 January 2008.
- Ian Nathan. "Unseen Bond", Empire, October 2008, p. 105.
- The World Is Not Enough. The Ian Fleming Foundation. Retrieved on 18 April 2016.
- (2013) The James Bond Car Collection: Issue 87. Eaglemoss Publications, pp.4-5.